Guinea-Bissau Confirms Possible Ebola Case While Sierra Leone Cancels Christmas FestivitiesDecember 15, 2014 in Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, West Africa
A medical official in Guinea-Bissau reported Friday that a man, who had entered the West African country from Guinea one day after the border reopened, is now being treated for suspected Ebola. Meanwhile in Sierra Leone, which recently surpassed Liberia to report the most cases of the deadly disease, officials have banned any Christmas celebrations as the caseload of Ebola infections continues to spread at an alarming rate.
On Friday, a medical official in Guinea-Bissau reported that a traveller was placed under surveillance as he attempted to pass through the Fulamori border crossing on Wednesday. Sources have reported that the traveller, who had a high fever, had taken advantage of the lax security amongst border guards in order to escape observation. He later boarded a bus and headed for the eastern city of Gabu, where he was apprehended. The traveller, along with eight fellow passengers on board the bus, has been quarantined.
On Tuesday, the government in Guinea-Bissau reopened the country’s 300-kilometre (185-mile) land border with Guinea after officials closed it on 12 August due to the Ebola outbreak. In November, a team from the World Health Organization (WHO) included Guinea-Bissau on its list of fifteen countries at risk of an Ebola outbreak, concluding that the West African country had an “inefficient health system, which would not be able to cope with an outbreak of Ebola.” So far, Guinea-Bissau has not reported any cases of Ebola and a confirmed Ebola case would demonstrate that the outbreak is continuing to spread, nearly one year after it was first identified.
Officials in Sierra Leone have banned any public Christmas celebrations as the caseload of Ebola infections continues to spread at an alarming rate. According to the government’s Ebola response unit, soldiers will be deployed across the country throughout the holiday period to ensure that all residents remain indoors. Palo Conteh, head of the department, has not disclosed the exact dates or specified any exceptions however during previous local and nationwide anti-Ebola curfews, people have been allowed out in order to worship and for “essential business.” Under the current emergency regulations, bars and nightspots have been shut down while public gatherings have been outlawed however there is currently no general ban on walking outdoors or working. Sierra Leone, which has now overtaken Liberia to report the most cases of the deadly virus, has in the past three weeks recorded 1,319 new cases.